BEIJING — A top Chinese official called Saturday for continued efforts to rally non-mainland ethnic Chinese, including those overseas, around the country’s national interests and help realize President Xi Jinping’s “Chinese Dream” of national rejuvenation. The comments from Yu Zhengsheng come amid heightened Western scrutiny of the Communist Party’s attempts to exert control and influence abroad, including over the Chinese diaspora in countries like Australia and the United States.
In a speech at the opening of a largely ceremonial political advisory conference, Yu said the advisory body has “meticulously” worked to enhance patriotism among young people in Hong Kong and Macau as well as those farther abroad with invitations to visit China and outbound delegations.
He said he was seeking to “mobilize all the sons and daughters of (ethnic Chinese) to work together for the greater national interests and the realization of the Chinese Dream,” referring to Xi’s nationalist vision of China as the pre-eminent global power.
China’s Communist Party has long claimed sovereignty over the self-governing island of Taiwan — and a degree of authority over all ethnic Chinese, regardless of nationality — but its attitude toward the Chinese diaspora has been a source of growing friction with foreign governments. In Australia and the United States, law enforcement officials have warned about Chinese government attempts to influence national politics and public opinion, as well as monitor the activities of Chinese students studying abroad.
In another instance, European officials were deeply alarmed after Chinese police detained and denied consular visits to a naturalized Swedish bookseller in a diplomatic standoff, with a Chinese state media editorial deriding his Swedish passport as effectively meaningless.